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The International Holocaust Remembrance Day – January 27, 2007

The main meeting marking the International Holocaust Remembrance Day took place on January 27, 2006 for the second time, in the presence of ambassadors and the senior diplomatic corps serving in Israel. The participants included Massuah’s chairperson, Shraga Milstein, the then Minister of Tourism, Yitzhak Herzog, author David Grossman, ambassador of the UK in Israel, Tom Phillips, Massuah’s deputy chairperson, Professor Yitzhak Kashti, and author Nava Semel.
The Minister of Tourism, Yitzhak Herzog said: “We are living in times when the lessons we learned in the Holocaust resurface and become more relevant. Reinforcement of the coalition of evil led by Iran mandates building a coalition of nations, in order to block the power and influence historical events. The decision of the UN Council to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day every year is a true historical turning point in the war against anti-Semitism and in memorializing the Holocaust. The resolve of the deniers of the Holocaust, headed by the Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who seeks to legitimize his real intentions of destroying Israel – contradicts the values of the free world. The UN Council’s decision manifests acknowledgment of the importance of the memory of the Holocaust as a basic value which constitutes proof of the understanding that what is happening in Iran is not only a problem of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Britain’s ambassador to Israel, Tom Phillips, condemned in the name of his country the declarations of the Iranian president regarding Israel’s right to exist. The ambassador claimed that all diplomats serving in Israel should understand that the Holocaust is not only a historic memory related to the Jewish People but also a defining factor in Israel’s national identity. He stressed the crucial importance of those who were not directly involved in the war, and related how his aunt and her parents saved Jews in World War II and therefore were awarded the Righteous Among Nations merit from Yad Vashem.
Author David Grossman said the following before the forum of foreign diplomats: “Even after almost 60 years of sovereignty Israel still feels that the ground is unstable. The country is a safe haven, but definitely not the safest place for Jews. Israelis still do not have a sense of security that all people should have in thier home. Living in such a way is like living in a house whose walls continually move and shift. Our borders are unclear, except for the sea that is always moving westward…
The question whether we will continue living this way in the future is looming like a dark and never-ending shadow over the heads of all Israelis. The Holocaust is a fear that is deeply rooted in national psychology, and people are motivated by a feeling that it can always happen again.
In order to heal, Israel has to uproot its distorted way of thinking, understand that there is a option – peace, that Jews can experience other dimensions of existence and not only survival and existential anxiety… You have an important role to play. If you want to help in resolving the conflict, you must be attentive, not only as diplomats but as human beings, as psychologists… history will not forgive you if you remain uninvolved, if you do not use these very last moments to resolve the conflict before it turns into a hermetically closed Fundamentalist-religious chasm.

Saturday 27 January, 2007
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David Grossman`s speech
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